Bid to boost MAS powers to curb money laundering

Bid to boost MAS powers to curb money laundering

Proposed changes to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Act will beef up defences here against money laundering and terrorism financing.

If approved by Parliament, these will give the banking regulator the authority to inspect a wider range of financial institutions for money laundering and terrorism financing breaches - including non-bank credit card and charge card issuers.

The move comes as money laundering cases involving the abuse of such cards are emerging internationally, and non-bank issuers are hence seen as warranting closer scrutiny.

The proposed changes, introduced in Parliament yesterday, will allow MAS to share information related to the policing of money laundering and terrorism financing with foreign supervisory bodies.

It also sets out requirements for financial institutions to conduct customer due diligence and retain these records.

These enhancements will align Singapore's regime with international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force, the global standard-setter for anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing.

Another Bill introduced yesterday will cater to the introduction of a new type of government bond called Singapore Savings Bonds. The bonds, which will be issued monthly likely starting in the second half of the year, aim to provide a long-term, low-cost savings option offering safe returns.

The Government Securities (Amendment) Bill proposes an amendment to impose restrictions on transfers and pledges of future new government securities issues. This is because Singapore Savings Bonds cannot be traded on the open market.

Conventional Singapore Government Securities, meanwhile, will continue to be tradable.

This article was first published on April 14, 2015.
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